Although the global economy has been quite volatile over the last several years, it has produced some excellent opportunities for small to mid-sized business with owners and leaders who are lateral thinkers — able to detect developing trends and capitalise on the benefits associated with them. There is no secret in the business world that developing anonline presence can massively impact your ability to build a lucid brand image and credibility for your company. It is also no secret that Google plays an immense role in developing that online presence. One of the ways in which Google has enhanced the ability of business owners to improve the user experience for their customers is through Google Maps. This online application is huge for local businesses. There are multitudinous benefits associated with using Google Maps. We will take a look at a number of these benefits and how they can help your local business.

Discovery without Searching

Google Maps has a featured product called "Explore" that is directly integrated into the mapping tool. The purpose of this tool is to allow the users to effectively "explore" the world around them. What this means is that your business is now discoverable even when a user is not searching for a business in your industry. The application allows them to see businesses and services that are in their specific area.

Mobile Searchers are Buyers

Generally, the vast majority of local searches are conducted on mobile devices. According to Forbes, 91 percent of mobile phone users keep their phone within reach at all times. Mobile devices have become a primary source to access information, including information that leads to purchases. In fact, 90 percent of all local searches conducted on a mobile device lead to action, according to the same report. People who are making geographical searches are looking to buy.

Reviews Boost Sales

One of the remarkable ancillary benefits of Google maps is that customers are able to rate your business and provide reviews of their experiences. This is significant in influencing the purchasing decisions of those who encounter your business through Google Maps. A recent survey conducted by Dimensional Research, revealed that more than 90 percent of respondents that were interviewed revealed that positive online reviews that they encountered influenced their buying decisions. This works out good for businesses that place great emphasis on customer service, because 86 percent of those surveyed revealed that negative reviews also influenced their decisions.

The Save Button Keeps Customers Connected

The save button allows users to save your location and business information in their personal profile database. This means that when they come across your business through a search, or through Explore, they can save the information for future reference. Not only is this good for increasing your chances for a conversion at some point, but it also increasing brand recognition. Whenever this person browses their saved locations and businesses, they will encounter your business and logo. The visual impressions will eventually stick and your business name and logo will be associated with your industry.

analyticsVisualise Your Business Data

It is no secret that humans are visual creatures. The ability of an individual to process data that is laid out in imagery and graphics is one more reason why Google Maps is a must for any local business. Using Google Maps will provide better insight into your business at a glance, allowing buyers to make a more educated decision on the go.

Customer Engagement

Customer Engagement is a huge part of managing the buying cycle and customer life cycle. You can increase visitor traffic to your site as well as drive user action once these visitors are on your site by embedding maps into your site. Maps create the opportunity for interaction, and this will also enhance the overall user experience on your site, which plays a vital role in developing the type of relationship that is built on trust and ultimately leads to customer loyalty. The user experience will determine whether the visitor will return to your site. The more engaging the experience the more the user will connect with your business. It is about developing a relationship, not simply pushing to convert sales.

Business and Customer Intelligence

Using Google Maps will also allow you to collect important data that will help you understand your customers. This will help you develop policies and strategies that will allow you to improve your customer satisfaction ratio. You can use analytical tools available through Google Maps to collect data that will reveal different types of customer behaviour. Using this data to develop news strategies has the potential to be very beneficial.

Customer Convenience

In addition to providing clear directions to your business, there is another way that Google Maps will provide practical convenience for your customers. Traffic conditions can impact a busy shopper's schedule drastically. Google Maps will reveal current traffic conditions allowing your customers to take the most expeditious route. The time saving mechanism is huge and will score you valuable points with your customers.

Desktop

Earlier this year, Google began to roll out their updated version of Google Maps, which included some very convenient and helpful additions and changes. Below are just some of the features that you will be able to access via your desktop:

  • The map size has increased, making them easier to read and understand.
  • The new maps emphasise smart technology, meaning that users are not only able to pull up the directions to your location, but they will also be able to identify the most advantageous mode of transport as well as the best route
  • An enhanced street view mode, which allows customers to view the street in a virtual sense. This makes it easy to identify landmarks.
  • Clean and intuitive user interface
  • Business ratings visible at a glance

Mobile App

The Google Maps mobile app is an immensely powerful asset to any business, simply because of the large percentage of searchers that will be using their mobile devices to conduct searches. It is important to note that the mobile app will perform differently on different types of devices. Some of the primary features that your customers will be able to depend on with the mobile app are:

  • The save feature, which allows them to save your business to their profile
  • GPS generated real-time information
  • Explore — Allows customers to see businesses that are in their areas without having to conduct a specific search
  • Alerts customers of great offers by businesses in the area. By listing specials and offers with Google Maps, you have the opportunity to increase your business.

With a little creativity, there are a multiplicity of ways that your business will benefit by using Google Maps. It is definitely a plus for any local business.